Monday, October 05, 2009

Tanita, Tanato

I should have known better. I DID know better.

I've seen many warnings on other blogs about the love/hate relationship people have with their Tanita scales. They become slaves to the data. And frankly I don't believe in the voodoo mumbo-jumbo pseudo-science behind the Tanita: there is no way a scale is going to tell me my bone mass or the "level of fat surrounding user's vital organs in the trunk / stomach area." It's impossible. Yet every time I go to an Ironman event, I am drawn to the Tanita booth with the guy who puts you on the magic scale and in 10 seconds gives you a complete body profile. He even fills out a card with all of your numbers for you to take home.

Getting your body composition checked during Ironman is the worst possible time because chances are you're at your peak fitness level. You're not going to get a realistic reading. And even beyond that, as I was being tested in Wisconsin I told the guy "I bet you guys calibrate these scales to give flattering readings so we'll buy them, and then when we get home they'll tell us we're fat."

The Wisconsin Tanita gave me a "Physique Rating" (voodoo magic) and categorized me as "Thin and Muscular (Athlete)". Well that's just awesome. It made me want to go up to some chick in a bar, hand her my Tanita card and say "heyah baby... check out my Tanita data." Who wouldn't want a scale that kisses up to them? So I bought one.

Well sure enough, less than 2 weeks after Ironman I tried the scale at home. This time I was rated as "Average Muscle & Average Body Fat." There's nothing WRONG with that, in fact it's pretty good, but what happened to the Tanita Love? I don't know what I'm supposed to do to get back in the good graces of the Tanita. Well OK, I suppose I can think of a few things I could do but what's wrong with wanting a scale that will just love me as I am? And yes, sometimes love means telling a few white lies every now and then. I'm OK with that.


Blogger Cyril Rickelton-Abdi said...

Is this the reason why you have resumed your good diet and have replaced morning Peanut Butter snacks by morning grapefruit?
Do I need to start inspecting your trash can again for candy bars wrapping papers?

6:45 AM  
Blogger Brent Buckner said...

I use a similar handheld Omron impedance thingy. I don't have much confidence in the discrete numbers, but the trends over time seem reasonable.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Steve Stenzel said...

HA! Yeah, I bet they have them set funny at IM.

Go get em, Captain Average.


2:38 PM  

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